The GEO Reentry-run Calaveras County Day Reporting Center recently celebrated the successes of their program participants during a transition celebration honoring graduates who have completed the intensive program.
The DRC, one of many created in California as a response to Assembly Bill 109 (a.k.a. California prison realignment), is designed to rehabilitate and assist probationers in their reentry into society by emphasizing personal accountability and providing classes and training to change criminal behavior and prepare the participants for the future.
The program, featured in Calaveras Enterprise, is run in partnership with the Calaveras County Probation Department, and can manage 50 participants at one time.
For many supporters, the key to the program’s success is focus on education and rehabilitation instead of punishment.
One supporter, retired Superior Court Judge Douglas V. Mewhinney, told the Calaveras Enterprise:
“I think [the DRC] is an excellent program. Business as usual, where we just lock people up, doesn’t make sense. We have to provide people with the tools to improve their lives. If we just punish and don’t rehabilitate, a lot of people will end up doing life sentences on the installment plan and that’s insane.”
During transition celebrations, graduates are able to share their stories and give thanks to all of the staff members and law enforcement officers who have helped them in their journey.
The Enterprise reports that one graduate spoke of how she had been living in her car before she entered the program. She had been a meth addict whose child had been taken by Child Protective Services.
After beginning the program, she stop using drugs for the first time in two decades, earned her GED and regained custody of her child. She told the crowd her identity had been reborn, the paper reports.
The Calaveras County DRC is only one of many day reporting centers run by GEO Reentry, whose approach targets reducing recidivism, securing employment or school enrollment for the offender, and altering the offender’s attitude and behavior.